At around 22:00 on Sunday, 20 May 2007, Amin and Fadwa al-Masri, and their two eldest sons, Basel (20) and Adam (19) were watching the news in the living room of their home. The rest of Amin and Fadwa's children were sleeping at the time. The family was following the news report about the Israeli military invasion of Northern Gaza.
Suddenly the al-Masri family heard a Qassam rocket fired in the area. From past experience, Amin knew that the Israeli military would retaliate by bombing any area from which a Qassam rocket was launched.
As a precautionary measure, Amin went into his children's room to open the window in order to prevent the glass from shattering in case of Israeli shelling. He then joined his wife and two eldest sons on the balcony in an adjacent bedroom and noticed a thick white trail of smoke in the air, left by the recently launched Qassam rocket. Shortly afterwards, an explosion shook the foundations of the house and Amin and Fadwa were thrown to the floor.
Amin was wounded in his right eye, and stumbled out of his house, through dust and smoke; Fadwa fainted from the shock, and remained lying on the floor until her eldest son Basel helped her outside. During the commotion following the explosion, Basel and Adam carried their brothers Uday and Hamza, respectively, from their bedroom out of the house. Uday and Hamza had sustained injuries as a result of the Israeli shelling, and were immediately transferred to Kamal Udwan Hospital. Hamza was born with cerebral palsy and seriously disabled. He was hit by shrapnel in the back.
Amin and his three daughters, Asma, Assia, and Isra, were also injured and transferred to the hospital along with their two brothers. Amin and his four youngest children were released the following morning, having sustained only slight injuries. Hamza however remained in the intensive care unit of the hospital. He had been critically injured. Shrapnel entered his body through his back and exited through his stomach. His frail body did not recover from its wounds, and he died almost two weeks later, on 1 June 2007.
Hamza al-Masri is one of ten children that have been killed by Israeli military forces in the month of June. DCI/PS has documented the deaths of 41 children killed as a result of the Israeli occupation and Israeli military actions in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of January 2007. This is indicative of Israel's failure to distinguish between military and civilian objects, most notably children. One of the most significant principles enshrined in international humanitarian law is the principle of distinction.
DCI/PS condemns the killing of children, and calls on the State of Israel to comply with international law in military operations conducted in the occupied Palestinian territory. The indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.